So here I am having an afternoon coffee in the Marais District, which is super cute by the way. Paris can be overwhelming, but then I find these great neighborhoods and think, Ok maybe I can see myself living here. Then I realize that I’ll probably never learn French and the idea quickly fades. Still great to visit though! My days in Paris have been oddly busy, even though I don’t think I do much! It’s because I end up walking for hours and hours. A typical day goes like this: wake up, go get a lunch or a pastry, walk around to some must-see neighborhood or tourist spot, then walk more, stop for macarons or a coffee, then see another landmark and take more photos, walk and get lost for an hour (more or less, this definitely is a daily occurrence), feel like my legs are gonna fall off and stop for a glass of wine, eat dinner or baguettes, wander back to my hotel, then if I have energy left maybe hit up a bar for a drink. Phew! But I totally love this type of traveling. It’s great to be able to make all the decisions, like “No, I don’t want to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but I do want to sit on the lawn and take pictures for a while and people watch.” Since this isn’t my first time to Paris, its been great to see all the impressive sights… from the outside. I just love looking at the amazing architecture everywhere. Even yesterday, when all the museums were free and all the tourists flocked, I spent the day wandering around the gardens, or strolling through Montparnasse (also super cute!!) The macarons at Pierre Hermé are AMAZING by the way! Big props to Shirin for sending me the foodie cheat sheet on Paris that her brother wrote after studying here. If I could bring some back to all my friends and family I totally would – way better than souvenirs. :)
Eglise Saint-Sulpice in Paris, church featured in Da Vinci Code
One thing I have noticed though is that this city isn’t as great for solo travelers. It didn’t help that I wasn’t ready to leave the beaches of Spain when I did, and then it was a bit harsh to be greeted to this ultra romantic city by throngs of couples all making out along the river ::shakes fist::. I’ve even noticed that the restaurants aren’t prepared for me to eating solo. When I hit up another Houshangi suggestion today, a classic French restaurant, the waiter sat me at a table with two other people! Not even a separate table close to them, the same table! It was a girl (probably in her 30s) and her mother, and I apologized for crashing the party. However, they were really sweet and we soon started chatting. They are here on vacation from Moscow and we had a nice lunch conversation, and it ended up being better than if I had eaten alone. So sometimes traveling solo can bring about pleasant surprises.
Tomorrow I leave bustling Paris for Belgium! I have two friends that live outside Brussels that I met while vacationing in Punta Cana with Renzo. I’m hoping they will be free to meet up for a bit, but either way I’m looking forward to relaxing in a more low key setting. Oh, and drinking lots of Belgian beer and eating heaps of mussels. Nom nom nom. The international food tour continues!!
Also, I have about a week of unplanned vacation that I still haven’t figured out what to do with after Prague/Budapest. Croatia? Switzerland? North/South Italy? Any thoughts?
Me: Hi, I’d like a table outside for a glass of rosé, please.
Waiter: Alone?? WHY?!
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